ASTHMATIC Cheryl Williams waited 18 months to see a consultant at Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital.

Her life was being made a misery by allergies and she was desperate for an appointment at the ear, nose and throat clinic (ENT).

But on May 10, the 43-year-old received not one, but two appointments - for THAT morning. The first was for 9.15am, the second for 11.45am.

Mrs Williams, a teacher, of Woodland Road, Maindee, Newport, said: "I knew I would miss the first one, but could make the 11.45am, so I rang the number they had given me to cancel it."

But all she got was an answer machine, so she left a message.

She rushed to get ready to reach the Royal Gwent in time for the second appointment.

But when she arrived, the place was deserted, and there was no clinic in progress.

"It was like a ghost town. I rushed to get there and find a parking space, but when I got to ENT there was no one there. Everything was closed up, there was no one on reception. I couldn't believe it," she said.

Mrs Williams managed to find a nurse from the eye clinic, being held nearby, who told her the appointments must have been a mistake.

She said: "I was so angry. I had to cancel other appointments to make it down there on time, and I didn't even get the letters until the morning I was supposed to be there."

Mrs Williams has been on the waiting-list since December 2001. She suffers a range of allergies, including asthma and hay fever.

To keep her asthma in check she has to use her inhaler twice a day and, often, a stronger one on top of that. She also has to regularly take antihistamines.

"I tried to chase the appointment up with my GP, but he told me it was my responsibility to do that,"" she said.

A spokesman for Gwent Healthcare Trust said: "This appointment was for an initiative clinic, unfortunately the start time of the clinic was changed and another letter was sent out.

"Our staff tried but were unable to contact her. The consultant agreed to see her on the ward and clinic staff did wait, but 15 minutes after the end of the clinic she had not arrived. Another appointment has been made."